When Jesus Comes to the Temple

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically today’s passage is found in verses twenty through verse forty-seven of the twentieth chapter. “And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor. And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teacdhest the way of God truly: Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no? But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar’s. And he said unto them, Render there unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s and unto God the things which be God’s. And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marveled at his answer, and held their peace” (Luke 20:20-26). “Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him, saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother died, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. And the second took her to wife, and he died childless. And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? For seven had her to wife. And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him” (Luke 20:27-38). “Then certain of the scribes answering said, master, thou hast well said. And after that they durst not ask him any question at all. And he said unto them, How say they that Christ is David’s son? And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make. Thine enemies thy footstool. David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son?” (Luke 20:39-44). “Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples, Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation” (Luke 20:45-47). When you come to this particular portion of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke you will find Jesus beginning to move within and throughout the city of Jerusalem—and not only move throughout Jerusalem but move throughout this city during what would be known as the week of His passion. If you read through the four gospels you will find that there were several other instances and occasions when the Lord Jesus journeyed unto the city of Jerusalem and would move throughout the city. In fact if you take the time to read the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find that it is incredibly Jewish centric. Please note that what I mean by it being Jewish centric is that it highlights and underscores Jesus’ movement throughout Jewry which would be considered Judaea and specifically the city of Jerusalem. The gospel of John—perhaps more than any other gospel—highlights and underscores the movement and activity of the Lord Jesus Christ in the city of Jerusalem for His movement would indeed be directly connected to the Jewish feasts which were celebrated in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Beginning with and as early as the second chapter of this gospel you will find Jesus journeying unto the city of Jerusalem during and at the time of the Passover when He would cleanse the Temple. In the second chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find an incredibly powerful telling of Jesus entering into the Jewish Temple and overturning the tables of money, driving out the money changers, casting out those who bought as well as those who sold in the midst thereof as well as all the doves and merchandise that was present in the midst of the sanctuary. You cannot read the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and His movement and activity in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. The gospel narrative written by the apostle John is incredibly powerful when you take the time to think about it for at the very heart and center of it Jesus’ movement within and throughout Judaea—and not only within and throughout Judaea but also the city of Jerusalem itself. There were multiple references found within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John concerning Jesus entering into the Temple which stood in the midst of Jerusalem beginning with His cleansing of the Temple. In fact it would be in the seventh chapter during another Jewish feast we find the Lord Jesus standing up in the midst of the Temple and inviting all those who thirst to come unto Him. What’s more is that it would be in the eighth chapter where we again find Jesus in Jerusalem and specifically in the Temple for it would be there in the court of the Temple when the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. It would be there in the midst of the Temple where religion and its leaders would seek to bring a woman who was caught in the act of adultery unto Jesus and not only accuse and condemn her but also seek to cast judgment upon her in the form of throwing stones at her. It would be the scribes and the Pharisees who declared how the Law of Moses demanded that such a one be stoned to death having violated the command and covenant of the living God. What makes this particular narrative so incredibly unique and powerful when you take the time to think about it is when you consider that it would be on this particular occasion Jesus would emphatically declare unto all those who accused and condemned this woman that those who had no sin would and could be the first one to cast a stone at her. The narrative ultimately transitions to all those who stood to accuse and condemn this woman departing one by one beginning at the oldest and going all the way to the youngest leaving the woman alone with Jesus. Once alone with Jesus He would ask this woman where her accusers were only to find her responding to Him by declaring that she had none. It would be in response to this Jesus would not only declare unto her that He did not accuse her but also instructed her to go and sin no more. As we come to the twentieth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke we find how on one of those days in which Jesus was present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem and within Judaea He would teach in the Temple. In the beginning and opening verses of the twentieth chapter we find Luke writing how it came to pass on one of those days that as Jesus taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders. The purpose of their coming upon the Lord Jesus was for one purpose and one purpose alone—to question the authority He felt He had and felt He had been given to engage in such activity. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the final verses of the nineteenth chapter of this gospel you will find that as Jesus went into the Temple He would begin to cast out those which sold therein. Beginning with the forty-fifth verse of the nineteenth chapter of this gospel we find that after Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem knowing the judgment and destruction that would come upon it He would enter into the Temple which stood upon the Temple Mount. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for each of the four gospel narratives written by the gospel authors highlight and underscore the tremendous truth surrounding Jesus entering into the Temple and cleansing it of the commerce and merchandise that would be present in the midst of it. It is at this juncture I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to each of the four references mentioned and spoken of in the New Testament gospel narratives concerning Jesus’ activity in the Temple. Before I delve into this I find it absolutely necessary to emphatically state that I am entirely and altogether unsure whether or not the account of Jesus cleansing the Temple mentioned in the second chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John and those which are mentioned by the synoptic gospel authors are two different accounts. It was the apostle John who chose to place Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple at the beginning of his gospel narrative and specifically in the second chapter. It was the apostle John who chose to begin the second chapter of this gospel with the first of Jesus’ miracles and the first of His showing forth His glory in the earth at a wedding in Cana of Galilee when He transformed and turned water into wine. In the same chapter as turning water into wine we find Jesus entering into the Jewish Temple which stood upon the Temple Mount and cleansing it of all the commerce and merchandise which was present in the midst of it. It is within the second chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John where we find his account of Jesus entering into and cleansing the Jewish Temple. What makes this truly astonishing and intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that the apostle John chose to place Jesus’ entrance into the Temple which stood in the midst of Jerusalem and His subsequent cleansing of it at the beginning of the gospel as opposed to being toward the finial chapters of the gospel accounts as did the other gospel authors. OH it is with this being said I invite you to consider the following words which are found in each of the four gospel narratives written concerning Jesus’ entrance into the Temple and His subsequent cleansing of the Temple of the commerce and merchandise which was present in the midst of it: “After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:12-25).

Please don’t miss and lose sight of the words and language that is found within this passage of Scripture for what we find in this text is not only Jesus’ entrance into the Jewish Temple which stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem but also His subsequent cleansing of the Temple. It would be the apostle John who would present Jesus’ entrance into the Jewish Temple at the beginning of his gospel narrative—and not only Jesus’ entrance into the Temple but also His subsequent cleansing of the Temple. What makes this incredibly intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider that John describes Jesus entering into the Temple and finding in the Temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting. It would be in direct response to this he made a scourge of small cords and drove them all out of the temple together with the sheep, and the oxen and poured out the changers’ money and overthrew the tables. What’s more is that Jesus would speak unto those which sold doves and instruct them, saying, “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.” Oh what makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that immediately following Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple the Jews would take great offense with His actions. It would be in this same chapter beginning with the eighteenth verse the Jews would respond to the Lord Jesus and asking Him what sight He shewed unto them seeing that He did such things. Undoubtedly the Jews which were present there in the midst of the Temple and Jerusalem at that time witnessed Jesus’ actions and demanded of Him what sign He showed unto them that would prove and demonstrate He was authorized to do such things. It would be in direct response to this Jesus would emphatically declare unto the Jews, saying, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

Upon reading the words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find Jesus fashioning a scourge of f all cords and using it within the court of the Temple to drive out those that sold oxen and sheep and doves and the changers of money which sat therein. Jesus would use this scourge of small cords to drive out the sheep, and the oxen and even the doves as He would pour out the changers’ money and overthrew the tables. Oh that we would recognize and understand just how incredibly significant this truly is for within this passage of Scripture we are brought face to face with the incredibly awesome and powerful picture of Jesus entering into the Temple and being grieved within His heart and soul concerning that which was taking place within it. What’s more is I would dare say that Jesus was more than simply grieved by what He saw in the Temple and was actually angered at what He saw. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that when I read the words found in this passage of Scripture there is a powerful picture of the zeal, the grief and the anger of the Lord Jesus over the condition of the Temple and that which He found present therein. It would be there in the midst of the Temple Jesus would be so moved with the anger, the zeal and the grief that was present within His soul that He would rise up and bring cleansing to the Temple. This Jesus of Nazareth who had performed many miracles and had taught the people would engage in something entirely and altogether different than what He had done before for here in this passage of Scripture we find the Lord Jesus casting out those who bought and sold within the court of the Temple. The Lord Jesus would drive out all those that sold oxen and sheep and divers and the changers of money which sat therein. Both those which sold and those which bought as well as that which was offered in the court of the Temple would be cast out by the Lord Jesus—and not only cast out but would also be followed by the Lord Jesus emphatically instructing and commanding them to take these things out of His Father’s house for they ought not to make His Father’s house an house of merchandise.

If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words present here in this passage of Scripture it’s that when the Jews which were present at Jerusalem saw and witnessed these actions of the Lord Jesus they would ask and demand of Him a sign that showed and demonstrated the authority and power He had to perform such actions. The Jews would witness Jesus overturning the tables of money and pouring out the money changers’ money and they would demand of Him a sign that proved and demonstrated unto them the power and the authority He had to exercise such authority over the Temple. Undoubtedly the Jews which were present there at this time witnessed and beheld the actions of the Lord Jesus and would question the authority and power He had within the Temple to cleanse it of that which was present in the midst of it. Oh there is something truly astonishing and captivating about this when you take the time to think about it for there is a vast difference between what we find in this passage of Scripture and what we find in the other gospel narratives. In the second chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find the Jews asking Jesus for a sign—and not only for a sign but what sign He would show unto them to confirm those things which He had done in the Temple. In the other New Testament gospels—the gospel written by the apostle Matthew, the gospel written by the beloved physician Luke, and the gospel written by John Mark—we find the scribes and the Pharisees being the ones who would confront Jesus after He had entered into and cleansed the Temple.

With all of this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to two distinct Old Testament passages of Scripture which are found in the historical books as well as in the prophetic books. In the Old Testament book of Second Kings we find the account and narrative of Josiah king of Judah—the last righteous king who would sit upon the throne of David in the midst of the city of Jerusalem—being convicted by the words which were present in the book of the Law of the Lord. It would be based on hearing the words which were written in the book of the Law of Moses that Josiah would not only rend his garments as a sign of humility and repentance before the living God but would also send some of his advisors and servants unto the prophetess which was present there in the midst of the city of Jerusalem inquiring of the LORD in response to what He had heard. It’s important to realize and recognize that what set in motion these events was Josiah seeking to repair the Jewish Temple which stood in the midst of the Temple. It would be Josiah whose heart would so move him that he would seek to repair and restore the Temple of the living God which would stand in the midst of the cit you Jerusalem. It would be in the process of moving within the Temple the book of the Law would be found therein. This book of the Law would be read by those whose assignment was present in the Temple before they would ultimately bring it into the hearing of the king that he himself might hear the words which were present within it. Oh what makes the narrative and account of Josiah hearing the words which were written in the book of the Law of Moses is that Josiah would respond with great humility in the sight of the living God by rending his garments. Undoubtedly Josiah was moved with fear, with humility, with surrender, with repentance and with grief and sorrow over what he had heard in the book of the Law of Moses and felt compelled to act in response to what he had heard. Not only would Josiah send those of his trusted advisors unto the prophetess to inquire of her from the LORD but he would also launch a campaign in the midst of the land. Oh with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Second Kings beginning with the first verse of the twenty-second chapter:

“Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jedidah, the daughter rod Adaiah of Boscath. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left. And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azariah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the LORD, saying, Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the LORd, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people: and let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the LORD, to repair the breaches of the house, unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone toe repair the house. Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully” (2 Kings 22:1-7).

“And HIlkiah the high priests said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and sayid, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivere dit into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD. And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Anika the son of Shaphan, and Achb or the son of Michaiah, the Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king’s saying, Go ye, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us. So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Hilda’s the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (Now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her. And she said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read: because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched. But to the king of Judah which sent you yo inquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD. Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the vil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again” (2 Kings 22:8-20).

“And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their eaters all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD. And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to k eep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Beth-el. And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the hose of heaven. And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stomped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people. And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the woman wove hangings for the grove. And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beer-sheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, where were on a man’s left hand at the gate of the city. Nevertheless the priests of their group places came not up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren. And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinton, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech. And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathan-melech, the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire. And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the king beat down,a nd brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron. And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon did the king devil. And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men. Moreover the altar that was at Beh-el, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove. And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words. Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, it is the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Beth-el. And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria. And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the LORD to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Beth-el. And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men’s bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem” (2 Kings 23:1-20).

“And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the Passover unto the LORD your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant. Surely there was not Holden such a Passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Judah; But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this Passover was Holden to the LORD in Jerusalem. Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD. And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him. Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal. And the LORD said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there” (2 Kings 23:21-27).

It is absolutely necessary we recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in these two chapters found in the Old Testament book of Second Kings for what would begin with repairing the breaches of the Temple of the LORD in Jerusalem would ultimately result in the finding and the recovering of the book of the Law of Moses—the book of the Law of the LORD. It would be this book of the Law of the LORD that would be read in the hearing of Josiah the king of Judah who would not only rend his garments in humility before the LORD but would also send and inquire of the LORD of the prophetess Huldah which was present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. What we must needs recognize and understand concerning this is that after Josiah would hear the word of the LORD proclaimed unto him from the LORD by the mouth of Huldah the prophetess through those whom he had sent he would begin cleansing the land of all the filth and iniquity that was present within it. What’s more is that as you read the words present in these chapters you will find that the book of the Law would be found as a result of repairing the breaches in the house of the LORD and the campaign of cleansing which would be launched by Josiah king of Judah would begin in and within the house of the LORD. Oh there is something truly captivating and powerful when reading the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for within them we are brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding Josiah’s actions and how He would begin at and with the house of the LORD. When Josiah sought to bring cleansing to the land he would not begin at the high places, nor at the altars, nor at the groves nor at those other places of iniquity and idolatry in the midst of the land. Instead Josiah would choose to begin at the house of the LORD—something which we must needs understand according to the words which the apostle Peter wrote in his epistle unto the saints which were scattered abroad and suffering:

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:12-19).

FOR THE TIME IS COME THAT JUDGMENT MUST BEGIN AT THE HOUSE OF GOD! Oh there is a great need for us to pay attention to the words which the apostle Peter wrote within this epistle for these words call and draw our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the apostle Peter emphatically declaring that judgment must needs begin at and with the house of God. Although there would be those who would like to think that judgment would indeed begin in the world and at the high places, or at the altars, or at the groves or at those places of iniquity, idolatry and immorality it was the apostle Peter who emphatically declared that judgment must needs begin at the house of the LORD. This is precisely what is so incredibly unique and powerful about the words which we find the twenty-third chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Kings for Josiah would not begin with the high places, nor the altars, nor the groves, nor those places of iniquity, idolatry, nor immorality within the land but would indeed begin with and at the house of the LORD. It would be Josiah who would instruct Hilkiah the high priest and the priests and the keepers of the door to bring out all the idolatrous objects and images which were present in the midst of the Temple that they might be completely and utterly destroyed. Josiah would indeed launch a campaign of holiness and cleansing in the midst of the land, however, before he would transition to the land he would first begin with and at the house of the Lord. Before Josiah would indeed touch the land he would first ordain and order the house of the LORD to be cleansed. It would be Josiah who would instruct Hilkiah the high priest and the priests and keepers of the door to bring cleansing to the house of the LORD that it might be throughly purged and cleansed of the idolatry and immorality that was present in the midst of it. Josiah would indeed begin with and at the house of the LORD and would order all the idolatrous images and practices within the Temple to be brought out and removed.

If there is one thing we must needs recognize and consider it’s how closely similar the actions of Josiah were to those of the Lord Jesus for Josiah’s cleansing of the Temple would not avert nor would it remove the judgment, the wrath and the destruction which the living and eternal God had promised and spoken through His servants the prophets. The LORD made it very clear that He would indeed bring judgment, wrath and destruction upon the land, upon the city of Jerusalem and upon the house which was called by His name and that such judgment would be postponed and delayed while Josiah would be upon the throne. It would be there in the midst of the land of Judah where as long as Josiah sat upon the throne of David in the midst of the city the judgment and wrath of the living God would indeed bed postponed and delayed. In essence Josiah would be the only thing that would stand between the judgment and wrath of the living God and the city of Jerusalem and the house which the LORD had placed His name upon. With this being said, however, Josiah would still proceed with cleansing the Temple of the living God of all its idolatrous images and practices. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something incredibly unique and powerful about what we find here as it presents us with the awesome and incredible reality of Josiah’s beginning with and at the house of the LORD. Josiah would indeed begin at the house of the LORD when He would launch His campaign of holiness, righteousness and cleansing in the land—this despite the fact that judgment and destruction would still come. There is something we must needs pay close attention to when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for even when we consider the words and language found in the nineteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke we find Jesus weeping over Jerusalem knowing the judgment, the wrath, the destruction and the calamity that would come upon it. What makes this truly interesting is when you think about and consider the fact that Jesus would indeed weep over the city of Jerusalem knowing the judgment, the calamity, the devastation and the destruction that would come upon and befall it and yet He would immediately enter into the Temple thereafter and proceed to cleanse it.

Having said all of this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the seventh chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah. It is what we find here in this passage of Scripture we find the prophet Jeremiah being called upon and instructed by the living and eternal God to stand in the gate of the house of the LORD and proclaim the word of the LORD. There in the gate of the house of the LORD Jeremiah was to proclaim the word of the LORD concerning the house—and not only concerning the house but also concerning the coming calamity, judgment and destruction that would come upon both the land as well as the city of Jerusalem. It’s worth noting that Josiah would indeed begin his process of cleansing with and at the house of the LORD and during those same days the word of the LORD would come unto Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah and instruct him to stand in the gate of the house of the LORD and proclaim everything He instructed and commanded him to say. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the truth surrounding the destruction, the devastation and the calamity the LORD would bring upon the land. The LORD had indeed purposed to bring judgment upon the land of Judah, upon the city of Jerusalem and upon the Temple which stood upon the Temple Mount—those places where He had placed His named in times past and where His glory and presence had rested, filled and come upon. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something truly unique and powerful about what we find find here in the seventh chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah—something which I am convinced helps us to better understand Jesus’ actions in the Temple. What’s more is I am not only convinced they help us to understand Jesus’ actions in the Temple but also His weeping, the words He would proclaim and the coming calamity, devastation, and destruction that would take place in the midst of the land. Jesus knew and understood the days were coming when there would be great judgment and wrath which would come upon the city of Jerusalem, upon the Temple and upon the land in which the people rested and dwelt.

Consider now if you will the following words which are found in the seventh chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah beginning with the first verse and you will not find priests in the Temple bringing out the idolatrous images inside but rather the prophet standing in the gate of the house proclaiming the word of the LORD:

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The Temple of the LORD, The Temple of the LORD, The Temple of the LORD, are these. For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; if ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever” (Jeremiah 7:1-7).

“Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes: Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD. But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee. Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their sought, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. Do they provoke me to anger? Saith the LORD; do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? Therefore thus saith the LORD God; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn and shall not be quenched” (Jeremiah 7:8-20).

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: but this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers. Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee. But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished and is cut off from their mouth” (Jeremiah 7:21-28).

“Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath. For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it. And they have build the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinton, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinton, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place. And the carcasses of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away. Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and form the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate” (Jeremiah 7:29-34).

IS THIS HOUSE, WHICH IS CALLED BYH MY NAME, BECOME A DEN OF ROBBERS IN YOUR EYES? Consider if you will the following words which are found in the fifty-sixth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah for they are directly connected—not only to that which we find in the seventh chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah but also to the words we find in the gospel narratives concerning the cleansing of the Temple at the hands of the Lord Jesus. If there is one thing we must needs consider when reading the words found in these passages of Scripture it’s that the same words and language which was spoken by the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah were used by the Lord Jesus—and not only by the Lord Jesus but also during that time when He cleansed the Temple. Oh there is an intrinsic link and connection between what we find in the seventh chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah and that which we find in the four gospel narratives surrounding Jesus’ entering into the Temple and bringing cleansing to it. It would be there in the midst of the Temple where Jesus would not only declare the Temple which was His Father’s house to be a house of prayer but would also declare unto those who bought and sold within it how they had made it a den of robbers and thieves. These words must be carefully considered for just as Josiah’s cleansing of the Temple and Jeremiah’s standing in the gate of the Temple of the LORD would be a portent and sign of the coming calamity, judgment, destruction and devastation so too would Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple and the words He proclaimed in it be a sign and portent of that which would take place in the coming days. Jesus knew and understood that there would come a day when not one stone would be laid upon another and that an invading army would lay siege to and surround the city of Jerusalem before overtaking it and wreaking havoc and destruction upon it. Jesus knew and understood the days were coming when great wrath and destruction would come upon the city of Jerusalem—and not only the city of Jerusalem but also upon the Temple which stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Oh with this in mind I invite you consider the following words which are found in the fifty-sixth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse:

“Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: For my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: Neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuches that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of the sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The LORD God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him” (Isaiah 56:1-8).

I find myself being absolutely captivated with the words which are found in the fifty-sixth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah as well as the seventh chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah. It is in the seventh chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah we find the word of the LORD coming unto Jeremiah concerning the house of the living God and it being turned into and becoming a den of thieves. In the fifty-sixth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah we find the emphatic declaration of the living God concerning the house of the LORD and how it would indeed be a house of prayer unto and for all the nations. The sole purpose and reason for the house of the LORD was that it would be a place where He would put His glory, put His honor, and above everything else put His name. It would be during the days of Solomon king of Israel where the living and eternal God would sanctify and hallow the Temple and the altar. During the dedication of the Temple the living and eternal God would sanctify and hallow the altar by causing His consuming fire to come down from heaven upon it while He would sanctify and hallow the Temple by causing His glory to fill the house. So powerful and so great was the manifestation of the glory of the living God in the midst of the house of the LORD that not even the priests could fulfill their duties and responsibilities in the midst of the Temple. This is actually quite telling when you come to the prophetic writings of Jeremiah and Isaiah for through Isaiah the LORD would not only promise the mountain of the house of the LORD would be a gathering place for all the nations but He would also proclaim that His house which bore His name would be a house of prayer for and unto all the nations of the earth. Moreover it would be through the prophet Jeremiah we find this house which bore the name of the eternal God and which was a house of prayer unto all nations becoming a den of thieves because of the wickedness, the iniquity, the immorality and the idolatry that was not only committed within it but also within the cities and streets of Jerusalem and Judah.

When you come to the New Testament gospel narratives written by the apostle Matthew, John Mark and even the beloved physician Luke you will find each of them presenting their reader(s) and audience with the account of Jesus entering into the Temple. Each of these gospel authors paint a wonderful and powerful picture of Jesus entering into the Temple of the LORD and being so moved with zeal, wrath and a holy anger that He would actually proceed to cleanse the Temple. What makes this all the more intriguing when you consider it is that Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple would not only be a sign and portent of the destruction of the physical temple of His own body but it would also be a portent of the destruction of the Temple itself. Less than four decades after Jesus would be raised from death to life and would ascend unto the right hand of the Father Rome would invade Judaea and Samaria and bring destruction upon the city of Jerusalem and upon the Temple. During this final week of Jesus’ passion before He would be betrayed, before He would suffer and before He would be killed and crucified He would enter into the city of Jerusalem and would enter the Temple bringing cleansing to it. Jesus would enter into the Temple and behold the tremendous iniquity and transgression that was present within it—much like that which present during the days of Jeremiah and Josiah. It would be during the days of Jeremiah and Josiah images of Baal and other idolatrous images and items would be present in the midst of the Temple while during the days of the Lord Jesus it would not be images of Baal but rather tables of money, money changers, items for sale, items to be bought, items to line the pockets of those who sold in the Temple. What we find within the four gospels is the need for the Temple to be cleansed—not from images of Baal, or Asherah poles, or images of any other pagan or false deity—but from commerce, merchandise, and the buying and selling of items that would line the pockets of those who actually sold.

I am sitting here today thinking about the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narratives written by the apostle Matthew, John Mark and the beloved physician Luke and I am brought face to face with the incredible truth of Jesus stepping into the Temple and beholding that which would have taken away from the house being a house of prayer fro all nations. What a tremendous tragedy it is when men and women come to the house of the Lord are able to buy that which they would offer to the Lord as worship and sacrifice. That which Jesus found within His day and generation was men and women who would come to the house of the Lord without bringing any offering from their own house and would instead purchase whatever they desired at the Temple. When Jesus came to the Temple of the living God he would witness and behold it being a place of commerce and merchandise as there would not only be those who would buy and sell but there would also be those items which would be bought and sold within the Temple. It’s incredibly interesting to see the incredibly similarity which existed between the days of Josiah and Jeremiah and how the Temple and house of the LORD during those days would indeed need to be cleansed of idolatrous images and iniquitous items that would be an affront and assault to the holiness of the living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something truly unique about the words and language we see in this text as it was written and recorded by Matthew, Mark and Luke. These three authors would place Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple towards the end of His time in the flesh during the week leading up to His suffering and death upon the cross. Jesus would enter into the Temple of the living God and would not only overturn the tables of money but also pour out the money of the money changers as well. Jesus would drive out buyer and seller alike and would completely purge the house of the LORD from those items which would be sold in the house of God thus causing it become a den of thieves. Oh this is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for Jesus would indeed bring cleansing to the Temple as a sign and portent of judgment which was to come. First would come the refiner’s fire as a fuller’s soap in the midst of the Temple bringing a cleansing to it and less than four decades later there would come the actual fire that would consume and burn the Temple to the ground.

With this being said I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel narratives which were written by Matthew, Mark and Luke. These three gospel authors were indeed those who seemed to place the cleansing of the Temple at the end of Jesus’ public ministry before He would l suffer in the flesh and before He would die upon the cross. In all reality the cleansing of the Temple would not only be a sign and portent of the destruction of the physical temple of the body of the Lord Jesus but also of the judgment and wrath which would come upon the city of Jerusalem and the Temple itself. We must needs recognize and pay close attention to this as it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding Jesus’ actions in the Temple and how He would bring cleansing of that which would be an assault on the holiness of the living God. Jesus would be completely and utterly consumed with the zeal of the LORD in His heart and soul land would enter into the Temple seeking to completely and utterly cleanse it of all that offended the living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the holiness of the living God within his house and Jesus’ willingness to bring cleansing to it that it might be restored as a place of prayer unto the nations. There is something truly captivating when you think about and consider this for it brings us face to face with the wonderful truth surrounding the holiness of God and the cleansing of the Lord Jesus in the Temple—and not only the cleansing of Jesus but also the presence of the Holy Spirit at and within the Temple. There in the midst of the Temple it would not only be the Lord Jesus as the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God that would be present in the Temple but it would also be the Holy Spirit who was present with and within the Lord Jesus. Oh with this in mind please consider if you will the following words which are found in the following passages in the New Testament gospels written by the apostle Matthew, John Mark and Luke:

“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, and said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there” (Matthew 21:12-17).

“And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? But ye have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. And when even was come, he went out of the city” (Mark 11:15-19).

“And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, and could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him. And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders, and spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? Or who is he that gave thee this authority? And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me: The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not: But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet. And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was. And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things” (Luke 19:45-20:8).

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely incredible to read the words presented in this passage of Scripture. In the second chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by John we find the Jews asking Jesus by what authority He entered into the Temple land overturned the money tables, poured out the money changers’ money and drove out those who bought and sold. In the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke we find them asking a different question—namely what sign He would give them that would confirm He had authority to engage in such activity. In all reality I have to admit that this is an incredibly dangerous line of thinking—particularly and especially when it comes to Jesus entering into the Temple of our lives and seeking to clean house and overturn the tables. We play an incredibly dangerous game when we think we can ask the Lord Jesus what right He has to not only enter into our Temples in the first place but also proceed to clean up shop while inside. There is a tremendous danger within our hearts and lives when the Lord Jesus and the person and presence of the Holy Spirit enters into our Temples and filled with a zeal for the holiness and righteousness of Almighty God seeks to bring cleansing and righteousness to it. The Jews and the religious leaders not only asked Jesus for a sign but also asked Him by what authority He entered into the Temple and proceeded to overturn the tables of money, pour out the money and drive out that which was bought and sold in the midst of it.

If you continue reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the conspiracy of religion within and against the Lord Jesus. Beginning to read with and from the twentieth verse you will find the scribes, the elders of the people, the chief priests and the like watched Jesus and sent forth spies which should feign themselves just men that they might take hold of his words. The sole purpose for them feigning themselves as just men and taking hold of their words was so they could lay hold of Him and deliver Him unto the power and authority of the governor. During this week—perhaps more than any other week prior to this—the religious leaders and community conspired together against the Lord Jesus for they could not handle nor could they come into alignment with His actions in the Temple nor the words which He spoke. Within this passage of Scripture we find them coming unto Jesus tempting Him with the currency of the day and asking whether or not it was lawful to pay tribute unto Caesar. It would be Jesus Himself who would ask for a penny and asked whose image and superscription was on it—a question which was answered by a resounding “Caesar.” It would be Jesus Himself who would respond unto them by declaring unto them that they ought to render unto Caesar those things which belonged to Caesar and render unto God those things which be God’s. It is absolutely necessary we recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found within this passage of Scripture for just as it was said about Aslan that he is not a tame lion so also it can be said about Jesus that He is not a tame Lion either. We know that Jesus is considered to be the Lion of the tribe of Judah and with that being said it is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand that He was not and is not a tame Christ and this is the main and underlying reason the religious leaders of His day despised Him. What we must needs realize and understand is that the Lord Jesus is indeed not someone who we can tame nor is He someone we can put in a box with borders and boundaries. We must needs recognize that He must needs be completely free to say whatever he desires and do whatever He wishes within our lives—and not only within our lives but also within our homes, within our families, within our churches and within the cities, streets and communities of our nation.

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